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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Junior Simone Asque landed a match-high 28 kills and senior AJ Cushman tallied a career-best 31 digs against Wake Forest Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium, but it wasn’t enough as the Virginia volleyball team dropped a hard-fought match to the Demon Deacons, 1-3 (25-20, 23-25, 22-25, 23-25). The loss drops the Cavaliers to 9-10 on the season and 3-6 in the ACC, while Wake Forest improves to 12-7 overall and 5-4 in the league.

“I like how our team positively responded with better energy, unity and focus after our poor match against Duke,” head coach Lee Maes said. “Our blocking and back row defense was very good this afternoon. We matched up McKenzie [Adams] versus their best outside hitter, and McKenzie did a fantastic job of taking her out of the match. The difference today, in a close match where it could have gone both ways, was our inability to sustain our level of siding out. We gave up some strings of points that allowed Wake Forest back into the match and we were primary stuck in a couple of rotations where we needed to have everyone on the same page in terms of execution to limit the runs that Wake Forest had. Wake Forest’s middles were very difficult to stop on the slides, but we would have compensated for that if we had sided out more consistently. Ultimately, they made the critical plays in the crunch to close out the sets.”

Asque led all players offensively, knocking down 28 kills, two shy of her career-best, and added 13 digs for her 18th career double-double. Defensively, Cushman recorded the second 30-dig match of her career, collecting a match-high 31 digs.

Cushman was helped defensively by redshirt sophomore Beth Wildermuth, who notched her fourth collegiate double-double of 44 assists and 13 digs, and freshman Emily Rottman – who contributed 14 digs.

Freshmen McKenzie Adams and Mallory Woolridge led the charge at the net, with Adams earning a career-high nine blocks and Woolridge blocking seven attacks.

For Wake Forest, Carlin Salmon led the way with 16 kills and seven blocks, while Megan Thornberry collected a team-best 29 digs.

As a team, the Cavaliers out-blocked Wake Forest, earning 13.5 as compared to their 10.0, but the Demon Deacons earned more kills (62-54), aces, (5-3), and digs, (92-80).

Following 15 tie scores in the first set, Adams, Asque, and Woolridge combined for three blocks in four points to give Virginia a 23-19 lead, allowing the Cavaliers to win the set, 25-20.

The Cavaliers then fell behind 12-7 in the second stanza, but worked to knot the score at 14 all. Another short run by the Demon Deacons put Wake Forest up 22-19, before a kill and block from Virginia cut its deficit to one, 22-21. Beck recorded a kill for Wake on the ensuing play, before the squads traded blocks to give the Demon Deacons a 24-22 advantage. Adams landed a kill to escape the set-point opportunity for Wake Forest, but an attack error on Virginia gave the visitors the 25-23 win.

Wake Forest broke open a tie score of 16 in the third set, notching five of the next seven points to bring the score to 18-21. From there, the two squads traded points, leading the Demon Deacons to a 22-25 win.

Virginia let a 20-17 lead slip away in the fourth frame. Wake Forest used a 4-1 run to knot the score at 21, before eventually turning it into a 24-22 advantage and a 25-23 victory.

The Cavaliers will return to action next weekend, heading to North Carolina to face NC State Friday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., and the Tar Heels Saturday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.

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